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Yinka Shonibare MBE CBE RA

Born, 1962 in London, England

Yinka Shonibare was born in London, though biographical notes sometimes state, erroneously, that he was born in Nigeria.

Following two years of postgraduate study at Goldsmiths College, Yinka Shonibare was included in the prestigious Barclays Young Artist Award 1992, held at the Serpentine Gallery in London. This was the eighth year of the annual exhibition of London art school postgraduates shortlisted for this award. Along with Shonibare, the other shortlisted artists were: Richard Ducker, Janice Howard, Andrew Kearney, Gabriel Klasmer, Joanna Lawrance, Lisa Richardson, Stefan Shankland, and Mari Tachikawa. Though five of these artists were apparently “not British in terms of birthplace or ethnicity,” Elsbeth Court (who reviewed the exhibition for African arts magazine) also claimed that Shonibare was “the first non-European selected to be a finalist.” The significance of Shonibare’s inclusion in the exhibition cannot easily be overstated. More than a decade and a half after the Barclays Young Artist Award 1992, Shonibare was asked, in an interview for the Guardian to describe what his big breakthrough was. He replied: “Winning a Barclays Young Artist award in 1992. It got me noticed.”

Taken from the flyleaf of Jardin d’amour Musée du quai Branly, Paris/Flammarion, Paris 2007: “Born in London and raised in Nigeria, Yinka Shonibare MBE lives in London and is recognised as a leading artist of his generation. A Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Shonibare describes himself as a hybrid heir to post-colonial globalisation.”

Taken from the second preface to Yinka Shonibare’s Be-Muse catalogue: “Shonibare’s diverse practice involves the exploration of a range of concepts - of identity, class, race, the “other”, colonialism - tackling critically the many and varied layers of contemporary culture. Moreover, he has made a significant contribution to the visual arts in Britain over the recent years and his work is a fundamental key to the understanding of the UK as a nation that embraces its cultural plurailty.”

From the archived Documenta 11 website : www.documenta12.de//archiv/d11/data/english/index.html: “Yinka Shonibare’s objects and installations form a complex field made up of historical, art historical, cultural, and economic references, thus bringing fundamental claims of cultural authenticity into question. In some of his more recent works, Shonibare deals with culturally charged frames of reference, by reproducing interiors, famous portraits, and genre paintings from England’s Victorian era and covering them in African fabrics. The fabric’s colorful, ornamental patterns awaken immediate associations with authenticity and exoticism. Yet its complex history makes it clear that what is a supposedly authentic, symbolic quality is already a construction marked by the trading routes of the colonial powers.”

Courtney J. Martin, who at the time was a doctoral candidate at Yale University, wrote about Shonibare and his Diary of a Victorian Dandy in a chapter for “Black” British Aesthetics Today, published by: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. The chapter was titled ‘The Twentieth-Century Dandy as Cultural Provocateur: Yinka Shonibare, MBE, and the Diary of a Victorian Dandy’. The article was illustrated with five monochrome reproductions of the ‘Diary of a Victorian Dandy’

Along with Kutlug Ataman, Jeremy Deller, and Langlands & Bell, Yinka Shonibare was shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2004. The award was, in due course, made to Jeremy Deller. Shonibare was shortlisted “For his sculptural installations in which he continues to use African fabric to subvert conventional readings of cultural identity, as seen in his exhibition Double Dutch at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and in his solo show at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.” (From the introduction to the Turner Prize catalogue, 2004, Tate Publishing, London).

He was awarded a CBE, (which styles the title holder as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, 2019.

His website is www.yinkashonibarembe.com.

Related items + view all 65

click to show details of Yinka Shonibare: Alien Obsessives; Mum Dad & the Kids

»  Yinka Shonibare: Alien Obsessives; Mum Dad & the Kids

Poster relating to an exhibition, 1998

click to show details of Yinka Shonibare: Art in America cover/review June/July 2008

»  Yinka Shonibare: Art in America cover/review June/July 2008

Review relating to an exhibition, 2008

click to show details of Yinka Shonibare: Art of Africa

»  Yinka Shonibare: Art of Africa

Article relating to an individual, 2004

click to show details of Yinka Shonibare: Dandy Diverse

»  Yinka Shonibare: Dandy Diverse

Article relating to an individual, 2001

Related exhibitions + view all 32

Related venues - view 5

»  ACA Gallery of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design)

Atlanta, United States of America

»  Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College

Oberlin, Ohio, United States of America

»  Angel Row Gallery

Nottingham, United Kingdom

»  Brent Sikkema Gallery

New York, United States of America

»  The Bronx Museum of the Arts

United States of America

»  Brooklyn Museum

New York, United States of America

»  Camouflage Art (CCASA)

Johannesburg, South Africa

»  Caribbean Cultural Center

United States of America

»  Cartwright Hall

Bradford, United Kingdom

»  Centre 181 Gallery

London, United Kingdom

»  City Gallery Leicester

Leicester, United Kingdom

»  Cooper - Hewitt, National Design Museum

New York, United States of America

»  Croxteth Hall

Liverpool, United Kingdom

»  Documenta Halle

Kassel, Germany

»  Grey Art Gallery and Study Centre

New York, United States of America

»  Henie Onstad Art Centre

Oslo, Norway

»  Ikon Gallery

Birmingham, United Kingdom

»  Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

London, United Kingdom

»  The Israel Museum

Jerusalem, Israel

»  James Cohan Gallery

New York, New York, USA, United States of America

»  Konsthallen

Göteborg , Sweden

»  Kunsthalle Wien

Vienna, Austria

»  London Printworks Trust

London, United Kingdom

»  Madison Art Center

Madison, United States of America

»  Manchester City Art Gallery

Manchester, United Kingdom

»  Mappin Art Gallery, Weston Park

Sheffield, United Kingdom

»  Miami Art Museum

Miami, Florida, USA, United States of America

»  Musée du quai Branly

Paris, France

»  Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rotterdam, Netherlands

»  Museum of Contemporary Art

Sydney , Australia

»  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, United States of America

»  National Museum of African Art Smithsonian Institution

Washington DC, United States of America

»  Northern Centre for Contemporary Art

Sunderland, United Kingdom

»  Oldham Art Gallery

Oldham, United Kingdom

»  Oriel Mostyn

Llandudno, Wales, United Kingdom

»  Parasol unit

London, United Kingdom

»  The Photographers’ Gallery

London, United Kingdom

»  Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Norwich, United Kingdom

»  Sala Alcalá 31

Madrid, Spain

»  Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara, California, United States of America

»  Serpentine Gallery

London, United Kingdom

»  Spacex

Exeter, United Kingdom

»  Studio Museum in Harlem

New York, United States of America

»  Tate Britain

London, United Kingdom

»  Trinity Buoy Wharf

London, United Kingdom

»  Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, United States of America

»  Yale Center for British Art

New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America